OUR TEAM

Bea Fry 

Development and Strategic Partnerships Steward

Bea hails from St. Paul, Minnesota and is a recent transplant to Chicago. They hold a B.A. in International Relations and a B.S. in Food Studies from Syracuse University. Their background includes research on violations of the Human Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition for transgender people of color. Bea is passionate about creating and maintaining a food system which is equitable for the LGBTQIA+ community and racial minorities, promoting the integration of international human rights rhetoric into the foundation of local food systems.

Email: Bea@auachicago.org 

Jazmin Martinez

Co-Operations Steward

Jazmin is a farmer from La Villita/Little Village neighborhood in Chicago and uses They/them pronouns. They are an owner-worker of Catatumbo Cooperative Farm currently located in South Chicago. They have previous experience working in social services providing crisis and trauma-informed support and connecting individuals and families to resources. Additionally, their background involves organizing within the immigrant rights movement. Through their work, they saw a need to create economic opportunities for historically excluded communities and was drawn to urban farming, particularly within a worker-cooperative model. Their work is grounded in reverence for the land and hands that feed and nourish us. They are committed to connecting urban agriculture with broader social justice movements to envision and create other possible worlds.

Email: Jazmin@auachicago.org 

Viviana Okakpu

Co-Operations Steward

Viviana Gentry Fernandez-Pellon is a farmer rooted in Chicago’s south side. She is passionate about food and medicine sovereignty, reduction of soil and water toxicity, and generative economics. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and History from Oberlin College and has furthered her agricultural education by farming throughout North and Central America. She co-founded the community garden and 501(c)3 Cooperation Operation and The Chicago Mushroom Company, LLC. She grounds her work in a deep love for Chicagos land, water, and people.

Email: viviana@auachicago.org

Jasmine Barnes

Community Cultivator Consultant

Jasmine deeply believes that joy and freedom are the natural outcomes of loving each other and ourselves. Detroit-born, Houston-raised and Chicago-based, She is an experienced facilitator, community builder and storyteller with a background in the education nonprofit sector. A self-identified “relationship advocate” her work is guided by her passion to create a more just and equitable world where underserved and underrepresented populations have access to resources and holistic education. Relational healing and creative self expression are two pillars that create the foundation for how Jasmine shows up in work and personal life.

Email: jasbarnes@auachicago.org

Liana Fu

Digital Communications and Outreach Steward

Liana Fu is a writer and organizer from Chicago. She studied at the University of Chicago while organizing for student of color power. They are passionate about creating digital spaces that facilitate learning, growth, and connection while centering Black and Indigenous growers. In their free time, they enjoy running their food Instagram (@mushroomhatersonly) and making zines.

Email: liana@auachicago.org

Yahdi Caprice

Soil Testing Steward

Yahdi Caprice is the founder and land steward at Free Movement Farm (Free Mvmt), a farm regenerating waste through compost education and soil production in Chicago. Yah’s farming practices are dedicated to offering opportunities for accessible, mutually nourishing relationships with the Land. He apprenticed with Chi City Foods in 2022 launching their new site in Morgan Park and graduated from the Stateline Farm Beginnings program with Angelic Organics Learning Center in 2021. Yahdi found his roots in farming on the southside of Chicago at Catatumbo Cooperative Farm. When Yah is not farming you can find him expanding his move practice, playing basketball with Swish, and spending quality time with the Grands.

Email: soil@auachicago.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Selma Sims

    President

    Gardeneers

  • Aasia Castaneda

    Vice President

    PGM ONE (People of the Global Majority in Outdoors, Nature and Environment)

  • Imron Bhatti

    Board Secretary

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Pat Muench

    Board Treasurer

    Bailey & Glasser, LLP

  • Akilah Martin

    US Army Corps of Engineers

  • Rosie Fitz

    HEAL Food Alliance